In 1792, Eli Whitney visited the plantation of Catherine Greene, the wife of Revolutionary War general, Nathaniel Greene, near Savannah Georgia. He watched cotton being cleaned; a very long and time consuming process to do by hand. Watching the cotton being cleaned an idea came to Whitney. He decided he would build a machine that would clean cotton faster than it could be done by hand. Thus, he created the cotton gin.
Since the development in textile industry in the north and in Britain, cotton became high in demand all over the world. The south at one point, was responsible for producing “eighty percent of the world’s cotton”. Even though the South had a “labor force of eighty-four percent working, it only produced nine percent of the nations manufactured goods”, (Davidson 246). This statistic shows that the South had an complete advantage in manpower since slavery wasn’t prohibited. In the rural South, it was easy for plantation owners to hire slaves to gather cotton be... ... middle of paper ... ...ecause they feared that Slavery would soon be completely abolished.
The cotton was growing bountiful and the planters needed slaves to harvest it, thus the need for slaves pushed the slave trade and increased the amount of slaves in the South tremendously during the first half of the 1800’s. Just as slavery was starting to lessen, the South discovered a way to lasso it back into it’s grasp thanks to the discovery of the cotton gin, allowing it to quickly recuperate from the death of tobacco. The growth of slavery in the first half of the 1800’s was also aided by the expansion of land, and the cruel yet profitable slave trade, all prolonging the misery of the black Southern population.
In the antebellum south, cotton was king. The idea of a diverse agricultural south became a fallacy upon Eli Whitney’s development of the cotton gin. The ability to gin cotton creates a market place for a cash crop and the increase in slave labor. Therefore it is cotton that fuels the financial wealth of thousands of southern families and replaced stable crops. The development of the most beneficial technology in the Old South that we all know as the cotton gin was developed by Yale graduate Eli Whitney in the year 1793.
A graduate from Yale University had thoughts of becoming a lawyer, but he needed a job urgently. After a tutoring job fell through, he accepted a position on a plantation in Georgia. His employer, Catherine Green, saw much talent in him and encouraged him to find a way to make cotton profitable. He promptly began working on a solution to the problem of separating the seeds from the cotton. On March 14, 1794, Eli Whitney was granted a patent for the cotton gin.1 The cotton gin impacted American industry and slavery changing the course of American history.
One of Hamilton’s political rivals, Thomas Jefferson, had based his own philosophy on how the government must support the common man from the economic and political autocracy. Jefferson glorified the small farmers of the time as “the most valuable citizens” (Outline of the U.S. Economy, 2009). Then in 1801, Thomas Jefferson became president of the United States and served 2 terms and propagandized a more circulated, natural government. One of the next big moments in the nation’s economy has to deal with plant: cotton. This small-scale crop that is grown in the South flourished preceding Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793 (Enchanted Learning, 2014).
“By 1800, seven years after Whitney’s invention, cotton production in the United States had increased 2300 % and continued to increase rather steadily… until production controls were imposed during the 1930s.” (Smith 8) Like many inventors, Eli Whitney could not have foreseen the ways his cotton gin changed society for the worst. The downside to the cotton gin was its effect on slavery in America. Although the cotton gin relieved people from labor, it had a downfall that caused the expansion... ... middle of paper ... ...ca was frustrated by, and the cotton gin also fueled slave disagreements. It eventually arose to a conflict over the control of slavery. In terms of knowing what the cotton gin means for Civil War history, the relation to the growth of slavery and its economic centrality is clear.
Slavery in the cotton kingdom During the American Revolution and the civil war, the North and the South experienced development of different socio-political and cultural environmental conditions. The North became an industrial and manufacturing powerhouse as a result of rise of movements like abolitionism and women’s right while the South became a cotton kingdom whose labor was sourced from slavery (Spark notes, 2011). The distinct feature of cotton kingdom is that her activities were empowered by slave labor. The cotton kingdom thus means a cotton producing region of the United States until the period of civil war. The reason why slavery spread into the cotton kingdom after revolution is because the tobacco income plummeted as white setters from Virginia and Carolinas forcing the original Native Americans inhabitants farther and farther west where they established plantations.
African slaves were the laborers of the cotton fields, thus, the Southern capitalists increased their investment in the trading of slaves. In the 1860’s the African slave trade ended, bringing to a close three-and-a-half centuries of forced migration. The once so profitable market had been completely removed from the South’s economy which would expose their oversight in slave-agriculture specialization. Therefore, the Cotton Boom of the mid-19th century enhanced the highly profitable slave-trade market which inevitably weakened the South in the long run due to overspecialization and the displacement of physical capital. In 1793, Eli Whitney created the revolutionary Cotton Gin which replaced human involvement in the process of separating cotton fibers from their seeds.
They depended on slavery to run their large plantations and take care of their major cash crop, cotton. Their economy was more agricultural and needed the slaves as workers in the fields and plantations. The South really depended on slavery after the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793. This was a machine that reduced the time it took to remove the seeds from cotton. With the invention of the cotton gin many plantations moved from their other crops to produce cotton.